There was no 2017 release of this small volume wine, but the thrilling second bottling was well worth waiting for. Made from an equal blend of Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge and Shaw’s Mountain fruit, it was fermented with 100% whole bunches to “see where it goes”, according to Peter-Allan Finlayson. The result is stunningly good: sappy, savoury and spicy, with layers of complexity, fine oak and tapering, scented finish. Only 1,200 bottles, alas. 2022-2 97/100 Tim Atkin MW
This Pinot Noir has lifted aromas of wild strawberry, white pepper, and earthy, mushroom notes. The palate is textured and grippy with cherry, blueberries and blackberries alongside fennel and some green pepper from the stems. The robust tannin and crisp acidity support the texture of the fruit profile.
This small winery was established in 2007 by brothers Peter-Allan and Andrew Finlayson. Their father, Peter, was a pioneer in the production of cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at Bouchard Finlayson, so after university it seemed the natural thing for the boys to return home and source some fruit from the Hemelen- Aarde valley to start their own label. Crystallum is now one of the most highly regarded wineries in South Africa, yet the Finlaysons are determined to make even better wines. Peter-Allan has sourced fruit from some new vineyards, while winemaking has evolved. All of the wines are now fermented using indigenous yeasts and new oak has been reduced to help the bright fruit shine through.
One of the highest vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde region, composed of heavy clay and Bokkeveld shale soils. These conditions allow optimum fruit development while naturally restricting vigour and keeping crop levels low. It is high-density planted – 8500 vines per hectare – encouraging competition between the vines, which helps bring greater concentration to the fruit.
2019 was a much cooler vintage than 2018. Winter saw a fair amount of rainfall, which replenished water reserves in the soil and sustained the vines through the growing season. Unsettled weather and irregular temperatures during flowering resulted in a reduction in yield. The cooler than usual temperatures during the summer meant that the grapes underwent a perfectly paced slow and steady ripening and were harvested in excellent condition.
The wine was fermented with 100% whole bunch and with indigenous yeasts in small one tonne, open-top vats. The wine spent six weeks on the skins before it was transferred into French and Hungarian oak barrels, 25% of which was new. It was aged for 11 months prior to being bottled without fining or filtration.
Residual Sugar 2.5g/L